We’ve all had those long days on the slopes where 3pm hits and you really wish you’d eaten more than just a poptart before strapping in. Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or just time in the snow, the proper fuel for outdoor activities can make all the difference in your comfort and performance.
We’re going to run through the basics of healthy and energizing food and drinks for days on the slopes, but we’re not monsters. We know that a mid-day stop at a lodge for a slice of pizza or cheeseburger and a beer is sometimes a necessity, and that’s okay. Some greasy food and a drink or two is well earned, and sometimes half the fun on a winter day. But if you’re preparing for a rigorous day to perform at your best, here are some tips to keep you full and on the move.
Often there aren’t a lot of chances to get water while snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding. But water is the most important part of your nutrition, and catching snowflakes on your tongue doesn’t count. If you really want to stay well hydrated, consider investing in a hydration pack that allows you easy access to water throughout the day from a straw that clips to the straps. If not, bring water with you, make water stops, eat some snow, do whatever you need to do to get your water intake!
What better place to start than breakfast? We’ve all heard the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is true. But it’s especially true for preparing for a day skiing, snowboarding, or heading out on your favorite pair of snowshoes. For breakfast, you want to base your meal around protein and whole grains to load you up with energy that will last throughout the day. Here are some of our suggestions for a good breakfast.
Eggs, Guacamole, and Whole Grain Toast
Yes, this sounds like the millennial breakfast of the century, but they’re onto something. The healthy fats of the avocado are a great source of energizing fuel and soluble vitamins. The egg will provide protein to keep you fuller longer, and the whole grain in the toast provides carbohydrates that will break down slowly throughout the day for sustained movement and energy. And it’s quick and easy to make, just throw a slice of bread in the toaster, fry an egg, and mix your guacamole (lime juice, garlic, salt, and avocado for the basics) and assemble.
If you’re staying at a lodge or commuting from your house to the slopes, overnight oats are another easy prep option to keep you fueled all day. This is one of those make ahead of time breakfasts, just throw together some rolled oats, milk of your choice (I like cashew), a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a half of a smashed banana, some maple syrup, and some cinnamon, mix it all up, stuff it in the fridge overnight, and voila! You’ve got healthy French toast overnight oats.
Lunch can be the toughest meal while outdoors and on the slopes, as often your options are limited. If you’re going in for the standard lodge lunch, try to work in some protein and HYDRATE. I know we touched on this, but we can’t stress it enough, and beer doesn’t count! Other than water, we know the salad option isn’t always the most exciting, but with some chicken or fish on it, a salad will help you power through the afternoon without weighing you down and sitting like a rock in your stomach for the rest of the day. If you can make your own or stop in to your lodgings for food, here’s a couple ideas for a good solid lunch.
This is another snow day standard, nothing warms the soul like a good bowl of chili. Our suggestion would be a veggie chili loaded up with beans, vegetables, and maybe a grain like quinoa to keep you fueled up. Classic chilies of the beef or pork variety can weigh you down with fat or grease, and often have a lot of dairy products too, which you may want to avoid if you’re prone to stomach issues. If you’re a meat lover at heart, try swapping the above for turkey, a healthier option for fuel. Beans and veggies are a great combo, giving you protein and vitamins that you need to get back on the hill for the second half of the day.
Whole Wheat Pasta
This may seem counter-intuitive to all you carb watchers out there, but carbohydrates are one of the best sources for long term energy. As we mentioned earlier, carbohydrates break down slowly, giving you sustained energy without the peaks and dips of sugars. If you can, stick to whole wheat or quinoa pasta options and use a base sauce of tomato marinara, or a healthy oil for a pasta salad, like olive oil. Throw in some pine nuts, veggies, and a little bit of protein like tuna or chicken for a well-rounded meal.
After a long day outside, a good hearty meal is what we all look forward to. But beware of overloading on food here, since your activity is now done, and you really need foods to help you repair and rebuild your muscles from all that work. Try to eat something substantial but healthy here, and if you’re the drinking type, get a full glass of water in before that shot of whiskey. Here are our recommendations for dinner.
Salmon and Veggies
A lot of people are low in healthy fats like omega-3’s, and fish is a great source for this. Salmon is a healthy choice, but if you can, try and find wild caught rather than farmed fish. This lean protein will help your muscles repair themselves to grow stronger for your next endeavor. And you can never have enough veggies! Our personal favorite is blackened salmon with Cajun spice, then cut up some avocados (I know again with the avocados, but they’re awesome), some red onion, and jalapeños, and sprinkle the mix over the salmon with a little lime juice.
Sweet Potato Hash
This is one of my personal favorites, and sweet potatoes are a great swap for greased up French fries. You can keep this dish vegetarian by just cooking up some sweet potatoes, peppers (I like red here), onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Then add in some black beans and a little Mexican spice if you want, and you’ve got a healthy hash that tastes amazing. If you’re looking to spice this dish up, throw in a little bacon or sausage (I use chicken sausage) and add an egg on top.
Sometimes three meals really aren’t enough to get you through the day, and snacks are key to keep you energized and stop you from overeating at meal time. There are tons of good snack options, and portable ones too. Just grab a ski or snowboard backpack (check out snow specific bags for a slim easy option) and chalk it full of healthy options. Here is a quick list of some of our favorites:
- Nuts (cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds)
- Jerky (beef or venison)
- Granola bars
- Roasted edamame
- String cheese
- Individual packets of almond butter
If you’re looking for more options, check out our blog on the best snacks for a day of skiing. Now that you’re all fueled up, get out there and crush that mountain!